Saturday, February 18, 2017

What Would Make Me Want to Buy 2017 Topps Archives...Maybe

I'd like to thank everyone who has left comments, sent me emails and DM's regarding my dad. He had his first chemo cocktail this past Tuesday, and seems to have been in great spirits since. Yes, he was in pain, and it was noticeable on Monday when my family did see him. But he put up a brave front and carried on as if nothing was going on. He's been a symbol of strength and we continue to pray that as the treatments continue, he will continue to fight this and, more importantly, win.

Now, this was what I was trying to write about last week.

The product called Topps Archives really tugs at my heartstrings. I loved the concept of it when 2001 Topps Archives was launched.

For those unfamiliar with the product, The first time the words Topps and Archives were put together, it was in 1983, when Topps created a set honoring their iconic 1952 set. With certain exceptions (because they could not get the subjects or his estate's permission) it was a standard-sized reprint set of all 1952 Topps cards. It was an alternative for those who could not afford the actual cards.

In 1991, Topps reprinted it's 1953 set, again with a couple of omissions. But this time, Topps added a number of "what could have been" cards had they thought doing them. Among the subjects were a young Hank Aaron (imagine if he had a card in the 1953 set).

Two more editions were unleashed to the masses. In 1994, Topps Archives put out a 1954 revival that needed help from that other card company. Because it had the rights to Ted Williams' likeness and images, Upper Deck included card #'s 1 and 250 in it's 1994 All-Time Heroes product. Along with these two cards, UD was nice enough to make a card #259 (Topps did create card #'s 251-258, including a "rookie card" of Roberto Clemente)...of Mickey Mantle.

Finally, in what was to be a foreshadowing of what would eventually the Topps Archives I'd come to love in the first part of the new century, 1995 saw the creation of a Brooklyn Dodgers commemorative set, featuring reprints of all the Brooklyn Dodgers (plus some new ones created just for this product) that graced its cardboard.

Fast forward to 2001, Topps' 50th anniversary. Part of its year-long celebration was the return of Topps Archives. The concept of recreating the first and last cards of 200 retired players was pure genius. Yes, there'd be reprint rookie cards of Hall of Famers (many of whom I'd never be able to afford), but there were also the "Fan-Favorites." Role players, as well as those legendary in the collective hearts and minds of their fans and franchises, were included in this production that took two series to complete. This is the set I loved and cherish so much that I have it stored in a Topps binder that has, what else, Topps cards on the front of it. The following year, Topps brought back the Archives name, featuring reprinted cards from 200 player's "best seasons." It was a great concept. It featured a number of players that didn't appear the previous year. The only drawback was the fact that Topps "included" the player's stats from that year's design. This was great for cards from the 50's through 70's. But cards of players who were "traded" or signed as free agents, and had actual cards from the Traded era were relegated to their cards before the transaction. So you had a 1987 card of Andre Dawson, not as a Cub, but as an Expo.

Now fast forward to 2011. Topps Lineage was introduced in 2011. Although the base cards included had a generic design, the big draw of the product was the tribute to past insert sets, cards included in packs from the 60's and 70's. Although Lineage was a one-year wonder, Topps thought to bring back the Archives name the following year. This time, the concept consisted of featuring four designs from the company's history, featuring a mix of current and past players, as well as featured inserts from the past as well. The insert sets featured throughout the years not only consisted of cards from the eponymous product, but from other brands as well (Stadium Club) and other sports (I think there was a basketball insert one year...and some were from Topps' NFL product).

This was all well and good. But Topps already has a Heritage line honoring past sets. Why create a second set that utilizes past designs with present players. I have the first two years' sets of this current revival. But after 2014, I stopped. It's become "Heritage Lite" to me. The inserts and autographs are fine (at least the first year's worth), and some of the inserts themes are great (one year included cards from the movie Major League), but I couldn't see my self continuing buying this set other than a few packs. I wasn't then, nor am I now, a Topps Heritage collector, and this set was just a reminder of it.

By now, if I haven't bored you with Archives' long celebrated history (at least you must be wondering what's my point??!), you're asking yourself why did I waste my time...

Well, I'll tell you (and now for more backstory).

From 1996 through 2000, Topps included a retrospective set of cards, honoring one player. In 1996, as he had passed away the year before, Topps included reprinted cards from Mickey Mantle's legendary Topps cardboard career. The set consisted of 19 Topps and Bowman cards featuring the Commerce Comet, split into two series. Card #20, a reprint of the Mick's 1952 Bowman card, was included in 1996 Bowman. Another 16, featuring Mantle and other players, were inserted the following year in packs of 1997 Topps. Not only did Topps include reprints of Mantle, but they also included reprinted cards from Willie Mays' career, split into two series, from 1952 through 1973. In 1998, reprints of Roberto Clemente's cards from 1955 through 1973 were inserted into packs. Nolan Ryan, and his 27 Topps cards, were featured in 1999. Finally, Hank Aaron was honored with a commemorative set of his own.

Last week, Topps announced that a 23-card Tribute to Derek Jeter will be among the inserts in its 2017 Topps Archives product. It will consist of reprinted cards of Derek Jeter's Topps cards from 1993 (the draft pick card) through 2015.

But there's a catch.

There will be 20 cards that will be easy to find. Three will be short-printed:
  • His 1993 rookie card

  • His 2015 card (his final card)

  • His infamous 2007 card, complete with Mickey Mantle in the dugout and President George W. Bush in the stands

Remember that one?

Now, this isn't the first time Topps has honored Jeter in this way. A couple of years ago, Topps included "framed reprint" cards of the Yankee legend. These cards were more expensive individually than the cards they were honoring.

I think if anyone tried hard enough, he or she can get all of Jeter's cards, from rookie to final - including the Bush/Mantle version - for just under 100, and that's being liberal. It's bad enough that Topps is putting this set (with variations, parallels, and the like) in Archives, but as I have every Topps set since 1976, I have every single one of Derek Jeter's eponymous cards.

Now I know he's been retired for a couple of seasons now (and he'll be a first-time dad to boot). But is it too soon for a Jeter retrospective? Was there nobody available? Were there no other players whose name could have been uttered in the same breath as Mantle, Mays, Clemente, Ryan, and Aaron that could have gotten the reprint treatment? Is there not another player with enough of a card library that could have been featured?

So I have to ask myself: do I want to have a go at trying to complete this set (or getting one off the Bay)? Should I do it? Would it be worth the time, money, effort? If I find one on the auction site, should I just focus on the reprint set? Or should I swallow my pride and buy an Archives set?

It's early yet. The product doesn't come out until later in the year. Maybe I will...maybe I won't. I don't know.


JayBee Anama

Monday, February 13, 2017


Today I planned to write about my thoughts on the Derek Jeter retrospective set that's being included in 2017 Topps Archives.

I'll save it for another day.

I'm having a tough time trying to get my thoughts out about this, but it's a bit hard for me. I know that this is a baseball card blog, and I know that I haven't been on here a lot the last two years. I also know that I try not to talk about personal things about my life, but that's happened from time to time (the death of my grandmother, losing a job, the struggles to find another, and ultimately finding one). But today, something has hit me...hard. And although this has been going on for quite some time, as I've already seen my siblings post on FB about it, I guess it's time for me to pour my heart out about it as well.

Late last year, my parents had announced that were taking a trip to the Philippines. It would be the first time they'd go home in more than 30 years. They'd be seeing family, friends, and classmates (at least my dad would...I'm sure my mom would figure out how to get her friends together) they haven't seen in years. They'd be visiting places they had not been to in a very long time. We were really happy that they'd be going.

After getting through with the Philippines Embassy (and the funny story about getting passport pictures), they went to get physicals. My mom was okay. But the news my dad got was (cue the clickbait headlines...) shocking.

He was diagnosed first with rectal carcinoma. Translation: rectal cancer. From what we were told, they caught it early, and it was treatable. As shocking as it was, hearing that it was caught early and that treatment was going to be radiation or surgery was a big relief. The more important thing was that he'd survive this. He was scheduled to get a cat scan so the doctors could figure out how and where to begin.

Then we got the results of the cat scan.

They found cancer in his liver. And it was more serious. Now, I'm not fully aware of all of the details about this. I know that apparently this has been developing in him for about a year now, and who knows how many tumors they were able to spot. His liver is functioning, so they said chemotherapy was the way to go. Shrink the cancer in his liver and it should also work in the rectum. The doctors said that it's not genetic, but for us kids (and his grandkids) we should seriously consider getting checked once we all reach 45-years old (which for me is about 4 years from now).

For the last year now, my dad has made it a habit to call me on a daily basis, right around 8-9 in the am. Today, he's on his way to the hospital to get a port installed to prepare for the chemo cocktail. He's supposed to stay in the hospital for a few hours afterwards for observation. As I started writing this, he called. I certainly was not expecting it. But he said he was on his way to the hospital and just wanted to say hi. We're making plans on seeing him later tonight after everything settles down.

So for now, as you'll see on the top right corner of this humble, little blog, I have a picture with two ribbons: a blue one for colo-rectal cancer awareness, and a green one for liver cancer awareness. It's my one way to show support for my dad virtually.

I'm not expecting anyone to get through this entire article. Nor am I asking for sympathy. This is not a pity party. This is a call to arms. I am asking for a couple of things though:

  • Prayers for my dad. He's agreed to the chemo and all the after effects. Pray that all of this does its job and helps rid the cancer.
  • Prayers for my mom to help her stay strong. She's a strong woman already, but all of this has taken a toll.
  • Prayers for my family that we can show and supply all the support that he's going to need.

And while this last request might sound cliché, please consider getting checked and screened when that time comes. Health is something we've all taken for granted from time to time and may have been set lower on our priority lists. But it's better to check now and make sure you're healthy instead of finding out too late that...something's not right somewhere.

Dad, I'm praying for you. You've remained (for the most part) upbeat and positive throughout this entire ordeal. I know that the trip you and mom has been postponed indefinitely. I do hope that when all of this is over that you two can go back home.

I Love You. See you tonight.


JayBee Anama

Friday, February 10, 2017

Rediscovering Topps: 1987 Topps Tom O'Malley #164

After opening five regular packs and two jumbo packs of 2017 Topps products, let's just say I'm so happy that I finally was able to get into the frenzy, albeit a week late.

I have a decent amount of base cards for a starter set (which I'm most likely going to give to my nephew). The inserts look really nice. This is what I have so far:

  • Three MLB Award cards (retail exclusive): Kris Bryant (NL Hank Aaron Award), Jose Fernandez (NL Comeback Player of the Year). David Ortiz (AL Hank Aaron Award)
  • One MLB Award Red parallel (retail exclusive): Corey Seager (NL Rookie of the Year)
  • One Topps Gold card: Jonathan Villar (0023/2007)
  • One Rainbow Foil card: Andrew Cashner
  • Three Discover Topps: 1975 George Brett, 1989 Traded Ken Griffey, Jr, 2012 Mike Trout
  • One First Pitch: Bethanie Mattek-Sands (Tennis Player)
  • Three 1987 cards: Sandy Koufax, Miguel Sano Future Stars, Rickey Henderson
  • Three 5-Tool Players: Wil Myers, Noah Syndergaard, Madison Bumgarner

And one more:

A 1987 (fitting) Topps Tom O'Malley card with the words "Rediscover Topps" in bronze foil.

So, who's Tom O'Malley???

A few years ago, I did a daily segment called "Random Topps Card of the Day." Using an Excel spreadsheet, based on what the numbers randomly appeared (a year, and then a number), I would feature that card as the Topps Card of the Day. I haven't done it in a while, and my randomizer is lost in my flash drive that needs to be data recovered (long story). I haven't had a chance to make a new one, so why not do one now.

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1987 Topps #164.
  • Player Name, position, team: Tom O'Malley, third baseman, Baltimore Orioles.
  • Major League Debut: May 8, 1982.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1986 stats (Orioles): 56 G, 181 AB, 19 R, 46 H, 9 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 18 RBI, 0 SB, .320 SLG, 17 BB, 21 SO, .254 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Giants #16th, June 1979). Bats: leftt. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 6. This is his third Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Tom batted over .600 as a high school senior."
  • Commentary: In honor of the 30th anniversary of the now famous (or infamous) 1987 set, Topps is including "tribute" cards as one of it's inserts. It harkens back to last decade, when Topps would honor a mini set, akin to the tobacco cards. In fact, one of the sets they featured was a miniaturized version of the 1987 set. The set in series 1 includes 100 current and former players, including some players who had cards in the original 1987 set. Tom O'Malley spent most of his 19-year professional career travelling back and forth between the majors and minor leagues for seven different franchises. His only full season in the majors came in 1983, when he appeared in 135 games for the Giants. That season, he hit for a .259 average with 5 home runs and 45 rbi's. After the 1986 campaign, O'Malley signed with the Texas Rangers. He would spend most of the year with the Rangers' AAA team in Oklahoma City. Thanks to a .311/12 HR/70 RBI season with the 89ers, he earned a call-up to the Rangers in August. In 45 games for Texas, O'Malley would hit for a .271 average, hitting one home run, driving in 12 rbi's, and had a slash line of .351/.368/.718. He'd be traded to the Expos after the season ended. A few years later, with time spent with Montreal and the Mets, he signed with the Hanshin Tigers in the Japan Central League. Finally getting more playing time in Japan, O'Malley would hit 123 homers and 488 rbi's in six seasons.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.01-$0.05.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 6 cards.

If anybody is interested in any of the cards I listed above, please send me an email at or send me a message on Twitter (follow me @bdj610). Or if you have a want list, send one over, and if I have the cards, I'll be more than happy to send them your way.


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

2017 Topps Series 1 Cards in Hand...FINALLY!!!

After a week of waiting and watching everyone else enviously opening packs, boxes, and cases full of the stuff, I finally have my hands on some packs of 2017 Topps Series 1. Needless to say, I'm thrilled. I've been dying to see these cards up close and personal, and now I have my chance.

So without further ado, my first card of 2017 is:

This is a good card to get as the first of the year (last year's was Nick Ahmed of the Diamondbacks). It's a Rookie Card, complete with the MLB RC logo. Bregman was the 3B for the 2016 Topps All-Star Rookie Team. He's expected to do big things for the 'Stros in 2017. He's on an infield that includes Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve. As Harold Reynolds says, "What's not to like? He's tremendous!" (I've been watching waaaay too much Hot Stove on the MLB Network...can baseball start up already??!)

What else showed up on my initial pack of eponymous product?:

  • #300 Arodys Vizcaino, Braves
  • #27 Kurt Suzuki, Twins
  • #204 Anthony Rizzo, Cubs, RBI League Leaders (2nd place)
  • #16 Lance McCullers, Astros
  • #137 Yan Gomes, Indians
  • #5T-16 Wil Myers, Padres, 5 Tool Players
  • George Brett 1975 reprint promo card
  • #340 Aaron Nola, Phillies
  • #59 Carlos Rodon, White Sox
  • #191 Wilson Ramos, Nationals
  • #252 Clint Robinson, Nationals
  • #182 Keon Broxton, Brewers

Here are some of my thoughts about this first pack of cards:

  • While I like having a Cubs card (albeit a Rizzo LL card), I think if they were to have a single player for a LL card, it should only be of the actual league leader (in this case, Arenado). I know that both Arenado and Kemp will have their own RBI LL cards, but Topps could have just left it at one card per league per stat, with the LL on the front, and maybe the other two pictured with the leaderboard on the back.
  • Love the rainbow of colors used for the backs of the card. They're bright and the text on the back is easy to read. The social media section is nice if you want to follow you favorite players on Twitter and Instagram, but I find it funny that if a player doesn't have either (like Suzuki for example) that Topps takes advantage of it by adding its handles.
  • The Five Tool insert looks a bit busy, but I get it. There are five pictures of Myers on his card, supposedly featuring the five tools he is supposed to possess (hit, hit for power, run, field, throw).
  • The pictures on the cards are really up close and personal. Like for Ramos' card, it looks like you're actually on the mound as he gets into his batter's stance.
  • I like the design of this set. The fog that was prevalent on last year's set is limited to the bottom part of the card, just under the diagonal design element. The design justifies not having borders. But I do miss them and hope they come back in 2018.

Overall, it was a good pack. I can't wait to tear into the rest of my haul today (or later today).


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Well, It Was Opening Day!!! Hope You Enjoyed Yourselves!!!

Keith Olbermann opened a few packs at Topps World Headquarters the other day.

MLB Network's Matt Vasgersian and Al Leiter (filling in for Harold Reynolds) opened a box on Hot Stove this morning.

And yes, some people found cards at their local big box store earlier than expected.

But today...


Today was Opening Day!!! Not for baseball (because that's in a couple of weeks), but for Baseball Card Season!!!

If you were able to get to your Hobby shop and they had them, or if your local retail shop had them in house, I hope you were able to buy a few packs, boxes (don't search...of course). Build those sets.

Just save some for me. There was nothing at my big box store today (unlike last year where 2016 Topps was there in all its glory). I won't be able to buy any until next week.

Or maybe I will tomorrow. There's always hope.


JayBee Anama